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Small U.S. Dairy Farms: Can They Compete?

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  • Gillespie, Jeffrey M.
  • Nehring, Richard F.
  • Sandretto, Carmen L.
  • Hallahan, Charles B.

Abstract

The U.S. dairy industry is undergoing rapid structural change, evolving from a structure including many small farmers in the Upper Midwest and Northeast to one that includes very large farms in new production regions. Small farms are struggling to retain competitiveness via improved management and low-input systems. Using data from USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey, we determine the extent of U.S. conventional and pasture-based milk production during 2003-2007, and estimate net returns, scale efficiency, and technical efficiency associated with the systems across different operation sizes. We compare the financial performance of small conventional and pasture-based producers with one another and with largescale producers. A stochastic production frontier is used to analyze performance over the period for conventional and pasture technologies identified using a binomial logit model. Large conventional farms generally outperformed smaller farms using most economic measures – technical efficiency, various profitability measures, and returns to scale.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 111th Seminar, June 26-27, 2009, Canterbury, UK with number 52869.

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Date of creation: 20 Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa111:52869

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Keywords: Pasture-based system; technical efficiency; returns to scale; dairy; Livestock Production/Industries; Productivity Analysis;

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Cited by:
  1. Nehring, Richard F. & Gillespie, Jeffrey M. & Hallahan, Charles B. & Sauer, Johannes, 2012. "Economic Efficiency of U.S. Organic Versus Conventional Dairy Farms: Evidence from 2005 and 2010," 2012 Annual Meeting, February 4-7, 2012, Birmingham, Alabama 119769, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
  2. D’Antoni, Jeremy M. & Mishra, Ashok K. & Blayney, Donald, 2013. "Assessing participation in the Milk Income Loss Contract program and its impact on milk production," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 243-254.
  3. Nehring, Richard F. & Sauer, Johannes & Gillespie, Jeffrey M. & Hallahan, Charles B., 2011. "Intensive versus Extensive Dairy Production Systems: Dairy States in the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. and Key Pasture Countries the E.U.: Determining the Competitive Edge," 2011 Annual Meeting, February 5-8, 2011, Corpus Christi, Texas 98824, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.

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